One in three children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The prevalence of obesity has remained stable at about 17% and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. Despite recent declines in the prevalence among preschool-aged children, obesity amongst all children is still too high.
Childhood obesity is more common among certain populations. In 2011-2014 For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years:
- The prevalence of obesity was higher among Hispanics (21.9%) and non-Hispanic blacks (19.5%) than among non-Hispanic whites (14.7%).
- The prevalence of obesity was lower in non-Hispanic Asian youth (8.6%) than in youth who were non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, or Hispanic.
The prevalence of obesity was 8.9% among 2 to 5 years old compared with 17.5% of 6 to 11 years old and 20.5% of 12 to 19 years old. Children who have obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity. Adult obesity is associated with increased risk of many serious health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. If children have obesity, their obesity and disease risk factors in adulthood are likely to be more severe.